Tzav 5783-2023

“Making the Menial Hallowed and the Mundane Holy”
(updated and revised from Tzav 5764-2004)

Examining the priestly service, we find something rather perplexing: the holy Cohanim/Priests who are engaged in honorable rites with much pomp and circumstance, begin the holy service with a decidedly menial duty each morning. The first service of the day involves removing and transferring the day-old waste of yesterday's ashes. This act not only serves to keep a priest's ego in check, it also teaches a valuable lesson about how truly important the "small stuff" really is.

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Vayikra 5783-2023

“The ‘Sacrifice’ that Lasts Forever”
(updated and revised from Vayikra 5765-2005)

Much of the Book of Leviticus, especially parashat Vayikra, deals with the rites and rituals of animal sacrifice. Sacrifice, however, does not only mean the sacrifice of animal offerings in the Tabernacle, it also means the Jew’s preparedness to do everything that is necessary to guarantee that Jewish children are given proper Jewish educations, thus ensuring a bright Jewish future.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5783-2023

“Celebrating the Month of Nissan”
(updated and revised from Vayakhel-Pekudei 5764-2004)

The Jewish month of Nissan, the first month that was celebrated by the Israelites after the birth of the Jewish nation, is heralded each year by an additional reading from the Torah on Shabbat HaChodesh. This special Shabbat serves as a reminder for the Jewish people that G-d grants His people solace in times of grief, support in the face of challenge, and light in the darkest of hours. The month of Nissan signals that redemption and renewal are at hand, and will soon blossom forth.

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Kee Tisah 5783-2023

“The Story of Esther--Making Choices for Jewish Destiny”
(updated and revised from Kee Tisah 5762-2002)

Summary: When Esther receives the report that Mordechai is leading a great mourning and wailing, she is thrown into a panic. Some commentators regard Esther's reaction as a personal failure on the Queen's part to rise to the challenge. In effect, Esther responds to Mordechai's appeal by saying, "Do you expect me to risk my life and compromise my lofty position in the Persian Empire for the Jewish people?" Fortunately, Mordechai's response to Esther strikes a sensitive chord. Despite her initial reluctance, Esther redeems herself, fulfills her mission brilliantly, and goes on to become one of the great heroic figures of Jewish history.

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Tetzaveh 5783-2023

“Keeping the Priests Humble”
(updated and revised from Tetzaveh 5764-2004)

The priestly garments, and the detailed descriptions of the garments in the Torah, reflect lives that are expected to be thoroughly devoted to the service of G-d. While their vestments are royal and holy, they are, in essence, quite humbling, connoting accountability and responsibility. The sanctity and complexity of the priestly garments, reveal the multifaceted nature of the priests' lives, that are at once privileged, and charged with awesome responsibility.

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